Report: Digital technology changing many American jobs, industries

Are you thinking about how your process excellence journey is going to guide your organization – and yourself – through the digital future?

You certainly should be.

A report released this month by the Brookings Institution titled “Digitization and the American Workforce” paints a fascinating picture of how digital technology is changing the jobs we do. Brookings analyzed how the digital content of more than 500 jobs has changed since 2001. According to the report, the share of jobs requiring a low digital skill level has plunged from 56 percent to 30 percent, while those requiring a high level of digital skill vaulted from a mere 5 percent in 2002 to 23 percent last year.

How does that look close up? Brookings assigned a “digital score” ranging from 1 to 100 for the hundreds of jobs it analyzed – a software developer, for example, scores a 94 these days, while a construction worker scores a 17. Tracking the change in less than two decades, Brookings researchers found some jobs have seen a startling spike in their digital score: In 2002, a tool and die maker had a digital score of 2. Last year, that same occupation scored a 51, putting it in the digital skill ranks of nurses and automotive service techs. As for the general and operations managers that make up many of our Center for Operational Excellence members, their digital score grew from 50 in 2002 to 61 last year.

Brookings also tracked digital scores at the state and metropolitan level by sizing up their industry/job spread, finding Ohio’s mean digital score nearly double in a decade and a half, from 24 to 45. Columbus saw similar growth, moving from a relatively low-skill average of 25 in 2002 to the medium range — 42 — by last year.

What does all this mean? On the plus side, Brookings researchers said, it’s driving potential for increased productivity and higher pay ranges. On the minus side, digital skill and the growth of digital technology are unevenly spread across industries and regions, which could be widening pay disparities and stifling job creation in certain sectors.

The bottom line, however, is that digital skill is a must – and training and education programs will need to act accordingly. Brookings researchers recommend prioritizing growth in the high-skill IT talent pipeline and basic digital literacy, the latter to prevent a wide swath of American jobs from being “off-limits” to people who need them most.

Check out Brookings’ website for full details on the report.

Columbus Collaboratory CEO: Fight innovation ‘drag’ by reaching outside your four walls

Matt Wald runs an organization founded by a group of seven pillars of Columbus’ business and research scene, but some of the biggest challenges they’re facing are formidable for any company, no matter the size or legacy.

It was their desire to collaborate and drive innovation speed that formed the Columbus Collaboratory three years ago, beginning a journey Wald, the organization’s CEO, traced at an November meeting of COE’s I.T. Leadership Network series. Wald’s keynote – an exclusive glimpse inside a company pursuing leading-edge innovation to solve critical business challenges – offered insights on the value of cross-industry collaboration and took a closer look at what’s causing innovation “drag” for companies, holding them back from unleashing the capability they need.

“We’re focused on creating a high-speed, low-drag environment,” Wald said.

The Collaboratory dubs itself a “rapid innovation company” backed by COE members American Electric Power Company Inc., Cardinal Health Inc., Huntington Bank and Nationwide, along with research giant Battelle, retail icon L Brands and OhioHealth Corp. What brought them together? The fact that the promise of advanced analytics, the imperative of cybersecurity, and the burning need for top tech talent weren’t just an insurance issue, or a utilities issue, or a healthcare issue. They all faced these challenges and opportunities – and they knew they had to collaborate to tackle them.

Armed with $4 million from each company and a $5 million Ohio Third Frontier grant, the Columbus Collaboratory launched in 2014, with Wald stepping in the following year as chief executive.

Wald said the Collaboratory is uniquely positioned to observe how companies are executing corporate innovation and – when it occurs – help fight innovation drag. By virtue of their size and success, Wald said, large organizations have excellent abilities to manage cost, manage risk and roll out technology.

“These are great things that make them successful – but they also oppose changes to the status quo,” Wald said.

Over time, the Columbus Collaboratory has worked with its founding members to build a growing library of intellectual property from which they can draw, and also moved a small handful of its innovations to market. Its work has ranged from an app that accurately predicts wait times across OhioHealth’s urgent care network to emergent solutions geared toward fighting the ever-present, ever-shifting threat of cyberattacks.

What can other companies learn from the Collaboratory’s journey? For one, Wald said, collaboration “is easy to say but harder to do. It turns out you need to fit the form of collaboration to the purpose. One size does not fit all.”

Companies of all sizes also can learn from the rapid prototyping approach the Columbus Collaboratory is wielding as it tackles challenges for its partner organizations, Wald said.

“Think of innovation as a portfolio of incremental and transformational projects,” Wald said. “Small improvements can make a huge impact.”

COE partners with Fisher to offer members operations-focused resume books

Looking to take your networking opportunities with students through the Center for Operational Excellence to the next step?

COE has rolled out a new benefit for members: Resume books of first- and second-year Fisher College of Business MBA students specifically focused on pursuing careers in operations. The inaugural 2017-18 edition includes 16 first-year MBA students’ resumes and 11 second-year MBA students.

Fisher’s Office of Career Management has fielded the resumes, which are housed on COE’s Members Only website (just click the “Download MBA resume books” button and, if you haven’t already, log in and/or create a COE username).

How does it work? We recommend considering first-year MBA students for project and/or internship opportunities. Second-year MBA students are candidates for full-time employment. If you find a candidate you’re interested in from either resume book, feel free to reach out to them directly.

Have any questions and/or needs regarding hiring/recruitment? Contact Jamie Mathews-Mead in Fisher’s Office of Career Management at mathews-mead.1@osu.edu.

Resumes currently on the website will remain there through the spring of 2018, with a new round posted each fall.

The resume books are one of a number of features on COE’s members-only website. There, you have access to dozens of past event recordings, COE summit breakout session slides, and the portal that offers livestreaming of upcoming events.

Fisher launches new analytics master’s degree program

In your pocket. On your wrist. In your shopping cart. On your browser.

Data are everywhere, and companies’ demand for workers who have the skills to translate those into insights is only growing by the day. The McKinsey Global Institute has predicted a gap of nearly 200,000 workers in the U.S. with deep analytical skills – just by next year. The gap for data-savvy managers with analytical skills is even wider, at 1.5 million and counting.

The Center for Operational Excellence’s home at Fisher College of Business is responding to this gap by launching a new graduate degree that’s set to offer its first classes next fall: the Specialized Master of Business in Business Analytics (SMB-A). In announcing the program last month, Fisher said the program is built to equip professionals with an understanding of the science of data analytics and its impact on business innovation, productivity and growth. Applications are being accepted now.

“Fisher’s SMB-A program directly addresses this workforce need and the needs of countless businesses and organizations around the world,” said Greg Allenby, co-academic director of the SMB-A program and a professor of marketing and logistics. “Data and data collection is in everything we do — from how we shop, to how we choose our music to how we consume our news and entertainment.

The SMB-A program is the third master’s program Fisher has launched in the past decade and comes just nine years after the debut of the Master of Business Operational Excellence program. MBOE, which launched largely as a result of COE member demand, has trained hundreds of lean leaders since its inception in 2008 and is heading into its 10th cohort next month.

Fisher’s latest innovation, the SMB-A, also represents another example of the college’s continuing efforts to accommodate the schedules of working professionals. After rolling out course options and offering weekend bus service for students in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton this year, Fisher announced the SMB-A program will be a blend of online and weekend classes.

Spanning 10 months, the program has a curriculum built around descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics and includes a “capstone” project using real data from students’ employers or other businesses partnering with Fisher.

Waleed Muhanna, co-academic director of the SMB-A program and a professor of accounting and management information systems at Fisher, called the program a “relevant, high-impact graduate degree that appeals to professionals from across multiple fields and industries.”

“Those who enroll in the SMB-A are taking control of their career development as data-savvy professionals and consultants and are choosing to elevate themselves as leaders in an area that is critical to business now and for generations to come,” Muhanna said.

Want to know more? Check out the SMB-A website.

Summit kickoff keynote to talk ‘Clarity First’

With registration for the Center for Operational Excellence’s sixth-annual Leading Through Excellence summit just weeks from opening, another of its featured keynote speakers is being revealed.

Karen Martin, president of The Karen Martin Group and author of The Outstanding Organization, will open the second day of the summit on Wednesday, April 11. Martin, a renowned expert on process excellence and sought-after speaker, will be sharing insights from her forthcoming book, Clarity First. The day before her keynote, Martin will be hosting a half-day workshop that takes a deeper dive into the Clarity First concepts.

In Clarity First, Martin contends that a lack of clarity costs companies, educational institutions, government agencies, and nonprofits billions of dollars a year. Beyond the red ink, this lack of clarity also inserts unnecessary risk, drains organizations of energy, and causes customers to question whether the organization can deliver value. Drawing from the book, set to be released in January, Martin will show how organizations can use clarity to unleash potential, innovate at higher levels, and solve problems more effectively.

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Summit keynote Charles Duhigg speaking during his keynote at COE’s inaugural summit in 2013.

On COE’s summit keynote roster, Martin joins Charles Duhigg, the Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better. Member registration for the April 10-12 event opens Dec. 11, while non-member registration opens Jan. 1, 2018.

Martin has a rich history in quality and process, having started her career as a scientist and, later, director of quality improvement for an organization that managed healthcare for 22 million people. She also served as director of the Institute for Quality and Productivity at San Diego State University, where she oversaw the university’s sell-out Lean Enterprise and Quality Business Practices programs.

As a consultant, Martin is known for her keen diagnostic skills and rapid-results approach. A skilled change agent, she builds energy within work teams by helping them focus an organization’s key performance goals—faster delivery of higher quality products and services at lower cost—while simultaneously building organization-wide problem-solving capabilities and boosting employee engagement.

Martin’s 2012 book, The Outstanding Organization, won the Shingo Research Award and Professional Publication Award. She’s also the co-author of Value Stream Mapping: How to Visualize Work and Align Leadership for Organizational Transformation, The Kaizen Event Planner: Achieving Rapid Improvement in Office, Service and Technical Environments and Metrics-Based Process Mapping: An Excel-Based Solution.

Additional keynote announcements for the 2018 summit will be made on Dec. 8 and into early 2018.

Visit the website now to get a look at our first wave of breakout session host postings and review pricing and group discount information. Workshop and tour information will be posted Monday, Dec. 4.

Leadership principles in Huntington transformation focus of December keynote

“How much will this save?”

“When will this get done?”

Jeff Sturm knows leaders need the answers these questions get. He also knows there’s a better way to ask.

“’When will this get done’ is a legitimate question,” said Sturm, Huntington’s Chief Continuous Improvement Officer, “but if you ask it over and over – and at the wrong time – you’re going to drive the wrong behavior.”

jeff sturm
Jeff Sturm

Changing leadership behaviors – starting with how they ask questions of their people – is a key component of a wide-ranging operational excellence transformation rounding out its fourth year at the Columbus-based bank, a stalwart among Midwestern financial institutions with more than $100 billion in assets. Sturm stepped in to lead the bank’s formal effort to build a culture of continuous improvement as it launched in 2014, and he’s appearing as a keynote on Dec. 8 for a seminar hosted by The Ohio State Center for Operational Excellence, where the bank has been a member since 2011. Registration for the event, open exclusively to employees of COE member companies, is open now.

Looking back at the early days of the initiative, Sturm said part of the foundational work was in communicating what the culture change wouldn’t be.

“Most people’s perception of continuous improvement was two things: this very rigorous Six Sigma orientation, and that everything was about expense reduction,” Sturm said. “Really, we wanted to help better equip our employees to have more formality around their problem solving to help in the day-to-day.”

The road map driving Huntington’s continuous improvement efforts is a three-pronged strategy that aligns employees on establishing cultural behaviors, creating capable colleagues and delivering results. That’s operationalized, Sturm said, as “making great, customer-centric, process-focused, data-driven decisions.”

Four years in, Sturm said a key focus is sustaining momentum. Huntington closed a $3.4 billion merger deal with Akron’s FirstMerit Corp. last year, and CEO Steve Steinour told Crain’s Cleveland Business this fall that Huntington is “investing in growing.”

A sustained continuous improvement capability, Sturm said, is critical to what the bank has achieved – and what’s in store.

“Our team has really focused on making sure we’re helping creating a culture where our people are able to identify and take advantage of opportunities because of that growth,” Sturm said.

Learn more about Huntington’s operational excellence journey on Friday, Dec. 8, when Sturm’s 10:30 a.m. keynote will be followed by a presentation on keys to visionary leadership from Tim Judge, the executive director of the Leadership Initiative at Fisher College of Business and a top-ranked researcher in the field.

COE accepting breakout session proposals for 2018 summit

Have a story of transformational change at your organization you’d like to share? Have research-based insights that can help business professionals develop their leadership or problem-solving skills?

The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence is accepting proposals for breakout sessions at its 2018 Leading Through Excellence summit, set for April 10-12 at the Fawcett Center on Ohio State’s campus. For attendees, the 25 breakout sessions to be offered at the event – spread across April 11 and 12 in five 60- and 75-minute blocks of five concurrent sessions – allow them to customize their summit experience to choose the topics that fit their interests and best align with their personal and organizational goals. For presenters, the sessions offer the chance to share best practices and make connections with hundreds of business leaders.

As with past summits, COE is building its breakout session offerings to represent a mix of “case studies” taking place inside member and non-member companies; actionable insights from researchers; and best practices from thought leaders in the world of operational excellence. Topics are to be broadly focused on one or more of the following subject matter areas:

  • Industry disruption (technology, trends)
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Lean deployment best practices (tools, techniques, behaviors)
  • Organizational behavior (team-building, communication, decision making)
  • Supply chain management

While COE will still be recruiting a number of breakout presenters outside this process, between five and 10 sessions will be drawn from submitted proposals. All session presenters receive complimentary admission to the summit.

Think you’re ready to submit a proposal for a breakout session on April 11 or 12? Have the following information ready about yourself and your presentation:

  • a) Contact information
  • b) Proposed title
  • c) Key challenge/trend the presentation addresses
  • d) A few sentences on the content you plan to cover;
  • e) Key “takeaways” attendees will receive at your session.
  • We’re also interested in past presentation experience, with video links welcome and encouraged.

Presentation proposals will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis, and all those who submit proposals will be notified of their status by Jan. 15, 2018, at the latest.

To view the proposal form and begin the submission process, click here.

COE celebrates 25-year milestone

The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence is celebrating its quarter-century milestone, which was formally recognized at a Sept. 15 seminar, where featured keynotes included LeanCor CEO Robert Martichenko and Goodyear executive Billy Taylor.

Check out the resources below to review recaps, video and photos from the event …

leancor robert martichenko
LeanCor Supply Chain Group CEO Robert Martichenko was one of two featured speakers for COE’s 25th anniversary celebration.

‘We have to connect the business’ – LeanCor Founder and CEO Robert Martichenko draws from his more than 20 years in lean supply chain leadership to share insights on how businesses need to speak a “new language” to truly deliver customer value in an era of unprecedented disruption.

For COE members: Access a full-length and 15-minute highlight recording of Martichenko’s keynote in COE’s members-only Digital Content Archive (authenticated user account required).

Goodyear executive Billy Taylor closed out COE’s 25th anniversary celebration.

‘Engaged, empowered people are your greatest asset’ – Billy Taylor, who oversees all North American manufacturing for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., delivers a dynamic keynote address focusing on his experience as a plant manager, where he discovered the value of engaging employees and giving them a sense of ownership over corporate strategy. Check out a 15-minute highlight video of Taylor’s keynote below …

For COE members: In addition to the 15-minute preview above, access a full-length recording of Taylor’s keynote in COE’s members-only Digital Content Archive (authenticated user account required).

peter ward coe 25th anniversary

‘Our members lead the way’ – COE Co-Director Peter Ward reflects on 25 years of the center partnering with the operational excellence business community and offers insights on what’s ahead. Ward, who has been with COE in some capacity since its founding in 1992, says the center quickly learned “our best ideas came when we listened.”

brutus buckeye peg pennington

A quarter-century celebration – Get your photo with Brutus Buckeye during the celebratory lunch at COE’s September seminar? Check out an album of photos from Brutus’ visit and download your photo via our Flickr page. To download a photo: Click on the image and, on the page that appears, select the downward-facing arrow to the bottom-right of the photo.

COE at 25: A look back – and ahead

The following is a lightly edited version of remarks COE Co-Director Peter Ward delivered at COE’s 25th anniversary celebration on Sept. 15, 2017.

peter ward coe 25th anniversary
COE Co-Director and Fisher College of Business Senior Associate Dean Peter Ward delivering formal remarks at COE’s 25th anniversary celebration.

We spend a lot of time as organizations preparing ourselves for the future, and that’s a smart move given the change we see all around us. But on the occasion of the Center for Operational Excellence’s 25th anniversary, let’s take a moment and look back.

In 1992, the then-new dean of today’s Fisher College of Business, Joe Alutto, visited the Department of Management Sciences with a compliment (of sorts) – and a challenge. The department, he said, was making strides in academic research and students loved the classes, but a disconnect existed with local industry. Can that change?

Our journey started there, with the founding of the Center for Excellence in Manufacturing Management, which the university recognized in the summer of 1992.

Getting started

After our first four members signed on — Central States Can, Lennox Industries, Copeland Corp. and Ross Labs — we quickly realized a very important lesson that’s become central to everything we’ve done in the quarter-century since: Our best ideas came when we listened, rather than when we talked. Hearing our members’ needs has directed COE’s path from the beginning and that continues. Our members’ issues are our issues, and our members lead the way.

That same momentum from our members helped us understand in the center’s first years that operational excellence wasn’t solely for manufacturing. Leadership, problem solving and process improvement are key to all industries – and that’s what led us to change our name to the Center for Operational Excellence little more than a decade after being founded. As we welcomed into the fold companies from the banking, insurance and healthcare industries, our members once again helped set our course and, ultimately, bring meaning to our work.

In 25 years, we’ve racked up some impressive numbers: five summits; 95 quarterly meetings; 300 COE-sponsored research papers; 500 workshops, seminars and tours; 700 student internships secured through COE member companies; and more than 20,000 admissions to our events.

But the true measure of the impact our members have helped make, for me, is in the moments that don’t have a number: The manager who lost his job in tough economic times and leveraged his center relationships to bring new vitality to his career; the MBA student who struggled to define herself until she tapped into the world of operational excellence; or the executive struggling with a seemingly insurmountable problem who turned to center colleagues for a solution. Our journey is teeming with these stories.

The next 25 … 

brutus buckeye peg pennington
Brutus Buckeye stopped by COE’s 25 anniversary celebration to ring in the occasion with Executive Director Peg Pennington.

After 25 years, a big question looms: Where to from here? The pace of change increases every day, and it’s by no means a stretch to assume the business world will evolve more in the next five years than it has in the last 25. One thing will hold constant, though: We’ll still need problem solvers, we’ll still need leaders, and we’ll still need people like our members, who work at the intersection of problem solving and leadership.

As we begin our next 25-year stretch, it’s the ideas and challenges of our members that will determine our future. Thanks for making us a part of your journey – I can’t wait to see what’s next …

Peter Ward
Co-Director, COE
Senior Associate Dean, Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University

Goodyear’s Billy Taylor: ‘Engaged, empowered people are your greatest asset’

Billy Taylor wrapped up a three-year stint running Goodyear’s manufacturing plant in Lawton, Oklahoma, with more than a few reasons to be proud.

Under his leadership, safety improved, processes streamlined, and projects racked up millions of dollars in savings. The turnaround job was enough to win the coveted Shingo Prize Silver Medallion for Operational Excellence, what’s been dubbed the “Nobel Prize for operations.”

It was, Taylor thought, his ticket to world headquarters.

The powers that be had other things in mind, dispatching him from one challenge to his next: A plant in Fayetteville, N.C., where demand for tires was outstripping the production pace by nearly 20 percent. In Taylor’s first two weeks walking the floor as plant director, he made it his mission to “seek to understand before I sought to change.”

The diagnosis: “I had great people but they didn’t understand what winning was,” Taylor said.

‘Most leaders struggle with letting go’

The story of the successful Fayetteville turnaround was just the next step in a journey that eventually led Taylor to where he is today, overseeing all North America manufacturing for the iconic, $15 billion-a-year brand and Center for Operational Excellence member. Taylor shared insights from his decades driving transformational change during his keynote address at COE’s 25th anniversary celebration in September, where nearly 200 industry leaders gathered to ring in the center’s quarter-century milestone.

Taylor’s insights on leadership are rooted in a passion for engaging people, a core element of transformational change that’s become the centerpiece of his frequent speaking engagements.

“Great leaders respect their people,” he said. “If you make people visible, they will make you valuable.”

Reflecting on the Oklahoma and North Carolina plant turnarounds, Taylor said the crucial next step after defining winning was in giving his front-line employees a sense of ownership in executing on the plant’s broader strategy. Though essential, it’s not always easy for managers, he said.

“Most leaders struggle with letting go,” Taylor said. “People are not your greatest asset. Engaged, empowered people who own your strategy are your greatest asset.”

By putting that into action, Taylor said, he ultimately oversaw a transformation in Fayetteville that resulted in a 14 percent bump in tire production with a 4 percent drop in hours worked – “no investment, no additional equipment, just ownership.”

Sustaining this culture of continuous improvement, Taylor said, means building a regular cadence around recognizing people as they execute on strategy and “celebrating the process” that’s driving gains. And it’s something he says he still does as one of the highest-ranking leaders in the company.

“Now that I run North America, it’s still simple. I still show up to celebrate the process, and I never miss the opportunity to share best practices.”

Billy Taylor was a featured keynote at COE’s fall seminar along with LeanCor Supply Chain Group CEO Robert Martichenko, who stressed the importance of connecting different parts of the business to create a lean culture.

A 15-minute recap and full-length recording for each session are available in the Digital Content Archive on COE’s members-only website (authenticated account required for access).